Which cosmetic procedure is right for you?
The amount of money consumers have spent on cosmetic procedures in dentistry has more than doubled in the past five years. Consumer spending on some procedures has increased by as much as 380%! But why? One of the reasons is that the baby boomer generation is getting older. Over 50% of people who get cosmetic dental procedures are over 40 years old.
Remember that cosmetic procedures are not a replacement for basic mouth care. The basics of brushing and flossing can go a long way in the prevention of common dental concerns, like periodontitis and gingivitis. But in the event you’re interested in receiving cosmetic dentistry treatments, there are five procedures that have grown in popularity in recent years. Keep reading to learn more about them.
1. Inlays, onlays, and veneers are the top cosmetic procedures.
You may not even realize that inlays and onlays are cosmetic dental procedures because they are basically fillings. You may recognize the older version of them as the gold fillings of the past.
Today, they’re made from porcelain or ceramic in a laboratory. Dentists apply them directly on the tooth cusps if they have not been significantly damaged. If the cusp of the tooth is damaged from decay or some other trauma, the dentist may create an onlay that covers the entire tooth. Inlays and onlays can also be a good choice if the tooth no longer has enough structure to support a filling.
Veneers are very similar to inlays and onlays, as they also protect the surface of your teeth. They can help correct your bite, provide added protection against breakage, and resist stains. Crowns are similar to veneers. Also made from porcelain or ceramic, crowns are placed over the tooth, resulting in a very natural look.
Veneers, on the other hand, are made from porcelain or porcelain laminate. They are very thin and coat only the front surface of teeth. Inlays and onlays go beyond the visible tooth surface to protect teeth where cavities are most likely to start.
2. Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that is often done right in your dentist’s office in a single visit. Many people choose to receive teeth whitening to restore a bright, vibrant shade to their smile after years of staining food, drinks, and medications. Teeth whitening is a lower-cost in-office procedure. Still, some people choose to do it at home with over-the-counter options.
Those who want a quicker whitening process may opt for an in-office treatment. With professional whitening, plaque and tartar will first be removed from your teeth to get them as clean as possible. Then, your dentist will apply a bleaching agent to each tooth to restore their natural whiteness. Most patients can expect their teeth to be several shades lighter after just one treatment.
3. Cosmetic Teeth Reshaping
Sometimes a tooth has so much decay that once the dentist cleans it out, there is not enough tooth structure left to handle daily use. Composite bonding or tooth reshaping can decrease the chances of further damage.
After your dentist cleans out the decayed matter, they will apply a composite material to the tooth’s surface. The dentist will then reshape or sculpt the surface for the perfect look. The tooth will then be cured with a high-intensity light to give it strength.
Cosmetic bonding is relatively more cost-effective when compared to other cosmetic procedures. The results are teeth that appear like any other healthy natural tooth. People who have cracked teeth, chips, or worn edges on their teeth may want to discuss cosmetic bonding with their dentist.
4. Composite Fillings
At one time, dentists used metal amalgam fillings for patients’ cavities. Composite fillings, usually made from ionomer cement or resin composite, are now a more attractive option, as they are the same color as a natural tooth and are not noticeable to anyone who does not know they are there.
People with tooth decay or extreme sensitivities may also opt for composite fillings. The decay is often the result of receding gums. Your dentist can then discuss ways to prevent your gums from further recession.
Some people who have had amalgam fillings choose to have them removed. Dentists may replace old fillings with composite fillings so they are no longer visible. If this is something you’re interested in, you should discuss next steps with your dentist because in some cases, removing old amalgam fillings can weaken the tooth.
5. Teeth Implants
Those who have lost teeth may wish to consider dental implants. A dentist can replace damaged teeth that are beyond typical dental care. Dental implants look very similar to natural teeth and are barely noticeable. Multiple dental implants may be used if several teeth that were side by side are missing. This is known as a bridge.
During the implantation process, a titanium screw is placed where the missing or damaged tooth once was to act as a tooth root. Over several months, the supporting gum tissues and jawbone will fuse to the implant. After the initial healing process is complete, a crown is then placed over the supporting screw. Sometimes several appointments are required to make sure the crown and implant fit together correctly.
It is important to keep the implant clean of debris and plaque. After an implant procedure, be extra cautious and strict about your oral hygiene. This will ensure a longer-lasting implant.
Basic foundations of dental care come first.
You probably already know this, but remember that the basics of dental care should always come first. Brushing, flossing, and regular checkups cannot be replaced by cosmetic procedures, and we always want you to hold on to your natural teeth for as long as possible!
Not only that, but cosmetic dental procedures, like implants, veneers, and crowns, will last longer if they are in a healthy mouth. Let us partner with you and give you the gift of your healthiest, brightest smile!
Let’s make your mouth a happy place! We’re here for you.